The Tamaqua Blue Raiders easily handled in-town rival Marian Catholic 12-0 to complete an undefeated championship season. The game just finished at 9:30 PM on Saturday night. This will be the first time Tamaqua had an undefeated untied season since 1927. In 1962 - the Blue Raiders finished with 10 wins - no losses - but one tie.
Unfortunately - Pennsylvania now has state playoffs - so almost everyone ends the season with a loss.
We were able to listen to the game in Tallahassee FL on our computer - using the Internet.
The following written by
Joshua Funk, PennLive.com football blogger
TAMAQUA, Pa. - Feeling the certainty of history being made, the anticipation on the visiting side of Men of Marian Stadium was building over the final minute.
There was a large, paper banner being carried by some cheerleaders. Some fans waved white rally towels. And as the final seconds of the game clock ticked away, the roar from the Blue Raider faithful was something else.
And when the final horn sounded after Marian's Damian Richards was tackled to the turf on the game's final play, so many firsts wrapped themselves into one collective moment for the guests clad in blue and white.
Tamaqua (10-0 overall, 8-0 Anthracite League) capped the school's first undefeated and untied 10-0 regular season in school history and also claimed the program's first Anthracite League championship thanks to a 12-0 victory over Marian Catholic (8-2, 6-2) Saturday night.
But consider it a case of the tables being turned. In the series, played since 1982, Marian had shut out Tamaqua eight times, including five times in a six-year window from 1992-'98. Saturday night also marked the Blue Raiders' first-ever shutout of the Colts.
When Tamaqua took the field before the start of the game, the entire team gathered and danced on the "M" at midfield. All that was left for the exclamation mark postgame was one Blue Raider player to stake the school flag to the midfield emblem.
"Marian did a really good job," said Tamaqua head coach Sam Bonner. "But I think our defense is pretty good, too."
Actually, the Blue Raiders' defense might be its best-kept secret.
Marian head coach Stan Dakosty noted pregame he'd changed up the offensive philosophy of his Colts to more of a spread attack. And for the opening drive of the game, the hosts did keep the Raiders off-balance, mixing the speed of Dylan Quirk, the power of Richards and junior Anthony Agosti. The Colts rang up 55 yards on the drive and four first downs, which ended on downs at the Tamaqua 27.
The rest of the night, the Colts managed 68 yards - with 53 of them coming on a pass-and-catch from Corey Quick to tight end Lukas Damian.
Defensive end Derick Vandermartin, who recovered a fumble Saturday night and entered the game with 30 tackles and three sacks, said the defensive unit wasn't happy with how the game began.
"We didn't come out as strong as we wanted to," Vandermartin said. "But after halftime, we came out on fire. That was because the seniors got together and said we wanted to leave a mark."
Oh, Tamaqua made its mark, to be sure. Marian rushed for only 18 yards on 28 team carries, including sacks. Quick, who was sacked three times in the game, never quite got the same amount of time to survey Tamaqua's defense as he had on the game's opening possession. After completing 4-of-5 passes on the Colts' opening possession, Quick finished the game 2-of-13.
Ten of Marian's 44 offensive plays went for negative yardage, including a center snap which sailed high and wound up in a 20-yard loss. Vandermartin recovered that bad snap.
"Our defense knew that they had a lot of speed and that they would try to stretch it to the outside," Bonner said. "No doubt our defense has been getting better. They really stepped up in the North Schuylkill game (in Week 6) and they've been making big plays ever since."
Quarterback Nate Edmonds, too, noted the Raiders' defense and its playmaking ability.
"Our defense is really amazing," said Edmonds, who threw for 156 yards and both Tamaqua touchdowns Saturday night. "It's not just one guy who makes all of the plays. Everybody makes plays."
The victory earned Bonner a Gatorade bath - but the Blue Raiders have been gaining more and more with each victory each week. They've become the talk of the town of Tamaqua, a town in northeastern Schuylkill County at the juncture of Routes 209 and 309.
"It (being the talk of the town) is really nice," Vandermartin said. "We were always the underdogs and always under the radar. This night and this win are more than words can describe. It means so much to us and to our town."
Chalk the Blue Raiders up among the numerous Schuylkill County small-school football teams having very successful 2012 seasons. Beyond the Raiders' historic 10-0 mark, Williams Valley (a Class A school from Tower City) finished 10-0 and won the Tri-Valley League championship. Tri-Valley, a Class A team based in Hegins which won just three games a season ago, is 9-1 and enjoys a powerful 1-2 backfield punch. Marian's eight wins are its most in a season since 2007, when the Colts went 11-3 and claimed a District 11 championship.
"Schuylkill County football - the whole region is improving every day," Vandermartin said. "We really want to show other regions that Schuylkill County isn't a slouch (for football)."
Bonner has said before, and said so again Saturday night, that the Blue Raiders' season was only going to go as far as its senior class would take it.
"And they've done a tremendous job the whole year," Bonner said. "Every one of them. I'm very proud of them."
Vandermartin is one of those seniors. Edmonds, conversly, is a junior, but he doesn't want the Blue Raiders' run to stop with only an Anthracite League crown.
"We definitely don't want it to end here," Edmonds said.
NOTES: Tamaqua can finish no worse than the No. 2 seed in the District 11 Class AA playoff bracket. The top four teams qualify for the playoffs. Before the start of Saturday's game, Marian Catholic faced the possibility of playing Tri-Valley in the opening round......Marian Catholic was dealt two big blows in the form of first-half injuries - Quirk left the game after only recording four carries and did not return. Agosti, meanwhile, was injured attempting a halfback option pass. He left the game and was wearing a soft cast on his lower left leg in the second half. The extent or severity of the injuries was not known......Marian Catholic leads the all-time series with Tamaqua, 19-9.